Yolanda Bravo is a new evening instructional assistant at the CE Mesa campus. She has been a part-time instructional assistant with Continuing Education at the ECC campus in the ESL department for the past few years. Yolanda, a native of Mexico, is not entirely new to CE Mesa, having been a student in the Transition to College class. In Mexico, she received her bachelor's degree in psychology with a focus on education. Her last job was as a principal at a private school, working with students with special needs and supporting teachers with their evaluations. After swiftly completing her ESL classes, Yolanda was identified by her then Level 7 CE Mesa instructor, Magdalena Kwiatkowski, as someone who might make a good instructional assistant. Good eye, Magda. Her former supervisor at ECC, Carolyn McGavock, said that “Yolanda quickly established a positive reputation with faculty, staff and students at ECC because of her professionalism, skills, and friendly demeanor. She is missed at ECC, but everyone is happy to see her get well-deserved recognition.”
Now that Yolanda has met her goals of finishing ESL and taking course work at Mesa College, she would like to give back by earning a master's degree and becoming a counselor for SDCCD. In her own words, “I would like to give back to this institution by helping foreign students in the same manner I was helped when I arrived.” We are indeed lucky to have such a qualified and motivated instructional assistant at CE Mesa.
Nga La is a new instructional assistant at SDCE's West City Campus; however, she is not new to SDCCD. Nga has served as a part-time instructional assistant at both West City and CE Mesa campuses for several years. A native of Vietnam and current ESL student herself, Nga is well- respected by teachers, students, and fellow instructional assistants for her vast knowledge of ESL placement procedure and her soft skills. She is especially known for her grace under pressure in the ESL placement office, her computer skills in the lab, and her remarkable work ethic all around the campus.
Nga has worked with 4 or 5 different assistant program chairs and has contributed tremendously to smooth transitions for leaders and faculty. She was a huge help in the move from the old Clairemont campus to the present CE Mesa campus when Linda Vista and Clairemont merged. Her presence during that hectic period, along with a great passion for her job, helped to ensure that there was continuity for faculty and students as they made that move.
After all that, she still finds time to make awesome spring rolls for lucky co-workers! We congratulate Nga La and feel fortunate to have her on our staff.
Mid-City Campus welcomes a new instructional assistant, Nadia Mohammed. Nadia is a remarkable woman. Originally from Sudan, she earned a Master’s Degree in Biology in Crimea, Ukraine. Nadia also has a certificate in teaching Russian as a Second Language. “It was an exciting time,” she recalls. Not only was she present during a pivotal moment in history, Perestroika, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but she also met her husband, got married, and started her family. In 2012, Nadia and her three children came to the U.S. while her husband worked with the organization, “Doctors without Borders.” (He has since rejoined Nadia and their children.) Soon after arriving in San Diego, Nadia began her studies at Mid-City Campus, where I first had the pleasure of meeting her as a student in my advanced ESL class. Nadia was an excellent student, calm, but also capable of standing up for what she believed in, especially women’s rights. She went on to become the ASB Vice President and in 2013 won the Chancellor’s Scholarship for her essay, “The Sky is the Limit.”
Nadia is a member of the Charter Schools Association and made a moving presentation that helped sway the board to renew the charter. Nadia is currently studying Business Administration at Mid-City Campus where she brings her many skills and rich experience to bear as the new Instructional Assistant in the evening ESL program.
Cynthia Rico, Ed.D. has accepted the temporary Interim Assignment of Vice President, Student Services (VPSS).
Ms. Rico has been working for SDCCD at Mesa College since 1993. She is currently working as a professor/counselor, providing students with information and guidance to assure appropriate transition from the community college to further education. Ms. Rico has experience in developing and teaching courses in personal growth and assists with academic planning. She also serves on various campus committees, and from 2011-2013 she served as a faculty representative to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.
In addition to having an accomplished career serving students at SDCCD, Ms. Rico’s educational background is impressive. She earned several degrees from San Diego State University including a doctoral degree in education, a master’s degree in counseling (with an emphasis in multi-cultural and educational counseling) and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. When I met Ms. Rico, I found her to be energetic, insightful and forward thinking. Her training and experience have positioned her well for this Interim position as we search to fill the permanent position of VPSS.
We welcome Yonathan Tesfahun to the Cesar Chavez Campus as a new ESL Instructional Assistant. Yonathan is no stranger to Continuing Education. He worked as an hourly Instructional Assistant at Mid-City Campus for 4 years. Faculty and staff from Mid-City Campus describe him as having a “winsome personality”, being the “sweetest person ever” and for being “really good in the classroom, especially with the low literate students”. In fact, when a student from a level 1 ESL class at Mid-City learned that Yonathan was leaving, he told his teacher, “I lost my brother today.”
Yonathan is majoring in Television, Film, and New Media Production at San Diego State University. He plans to graduate in 2017. Yonathan will work in the ESL Assessment Office, the ESL Computer Lab, and the beginning level ESL classrooms. We are thrilled to have Yonathan as part of our ESL staff at the Chavez Campus.